Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday morning to talk about the team's disastrous 2012 season and the decision to fire Bobby Valentine.
"If this is broken, as indeed it is, we're determined to make it right and get back to the success that we've had in our first decade," Lucchino said.
Lucchino described the Thursday morning meeting where Valentine was given the news that he would not be returning for a second season. Lucchino clarified that it was not a breakfast meeting, as had been previously reported, but a mid-morning meeting at Lucchino's house.
"It started with a statement from Ben about the decision that had just been made," Lucchino said. "And then Bobby took it with great grace and professionalism, I must say. I've had the misfortune of being involved in these kinds of decisions from time to time over my 30 years of baseball, and he was exceptional in his grace and constructive comments. … As to whether he anticipated what was going to happen, you'd have to speak to him. We didn't ask him that question. But he certainly, as I said a minute ago, accepted the decision with grace and recognition."
While there were numerous reports of clubhouse problems during the season, Lucchino said the main reason for this decision is the team's lack of success.
"I find it awkward and probably a little inappropriate to go into 'Who shot John?' and what went right and what went wrong," Lucchino said. "I think what's easier to discuss is the record. If we were 93-69 instead of 69-93, we wouldn't be having this conversation. We're in a results-oriented business, and the results did not occur. We have high levels of expectations here in Boston, and I think rightfully so, and we did not perform. And Bobby understood it in those terms. He basically did [say], 'My job is to put together a winning team, to deal with the problems that emerge during the course of a tumultuous season and ensure that the team wins as it's expected to do.' And that didn't happen. So he recognized that the bottom line was indeed the bottom line."
There has been widespread speculation that the front office hurt Valentine's ability to run the team by failing to back him when players complained. Luchino insisted Valentine was able to be himself and had the support of his bosses.
"I think he was Bobby V. I think he wanted to be a little careful at the beginning because he stepped into such a difficult situation following the historic collapse last September. That may have urged him to be a little more careful because the situation was so volatile," Lucchino said. "But by and large I believe he felt that he had our support from the beginning. And throughout, we made it clear, publicly and privately, that when a situation was called into question that we were going to deal with the manager issue at the conclusion of the season and not until the conclusion of the season.
"From my point of view, he had my support. Certainly, I was an early advocate for him last offseason. And as he leaves the manager's office today I remain a supporter, someone who sees terrific things in Bobby Valentine, both personally and professionally."
One of the reported instances of front office interference came when Valentine allegedly was admonished for berating a player during spring training.
"No, he was not admonished," Lucchino said, adding: "Some [players] may have thought it was an unusual way to deal with it. But that whole issue [during an early season game] with Will Middlebrooks, I think Bobby handled just fine."
Looking at this year's managerial search as compared to last year's, Lucchino said the key differences are that the team is opening the search earlier and rookie general manager Ben Cherington now has the experience of having gone through the process once already. He also indicated that the shakeup around the team will continue.
"We do think that there are some things that need to be done besides this. This is not the only change that's going to made this offseason," Lucchino said. "There are myriad changes that will be made. We've begun with the megatrade with the Dodgers, with the addition of Jason Varitek, with the supplement to our evaluation process with Eddie Bane, now with the managerial change, there'll be some coaching changes. There will be a host of changes. And there will be some new personnel.
"We believe we have a core of good players, a core of really positive, exciting, hard-nosed players that our fans can embrace. I'm talking about Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz and Will Middlebrooks, and I could go on and on. There's a core of good players there. But we've got to supplement them, we've got to use free agency, we've got to trade, we've got to do what we can to add to this team to make it stronger and let's hope make it healthier."
Following are more highlights from the interview.
On if the players have a say in who will be hired: "We will talk to our players, of course, the more input we get from players on things, the better. But they do not have a vote in this process. This is not a referendum of players who will tell us who they next manager should be. That, I think, is misguided."
On reports that last offseason the players were told the team would not hire a confrontational manager like Bobby Valentine: "I have no personal knowledge of that. I've heard the same story, that Theo Epstein -- I believe it was, at least that's the story that I've heard -- made that comment while he was here as general manager. But of course the decision was made later than that, after Theo was gone. So, I don't know if he indeed did say something like that or not. You'd probably have to ask him."
On if the team should have reconsidered retaining Terry Francona last year: "I don't want to open old issues except to say Terry was not an option. He told us he was not prepared to manage again in 2012, and we took him at his word. So, no, that alternative was never considered or explored."
On accountability for the struggles this season: "The lack of success that we endured during this terrible 2012 season is a responsibility that's shared by a lot of us, including yours truly, including Ben Cherington and our baseball operations department, including John Henry and Tom Werner representing our ownership. There were enough misjudgments and problems that developed that there's plenty of accountability to pass around."
Pete, Thornton and Price give their final thoughts and predictions for the Super Bowl.
Gabe calls the boys to handicap one of the biggest gambling days of the year - Super Bowl 51! Gabe has all the point spread info down and gets to all of the major prop bets that interest him.
Fauria is still down in Houston and calls live from NRG Stadium to give his take on what will go down later on in Super Bowl 51. He likes the Pats and gives his reasons why, but also gets into the scene in Houston all week, famous people he met and why he is tired out from a wild week.
The NBA trade rumor mill is beginning to swirl as the deadline approaches and Picard is ready to go! He talks about the possibility of Jimmy Butler coming to Boston, why Isaiah Thomas is not getting enough respect and the future of the Celtics.
Adrian Wojnarowski has been talking about the possibility of the Celtics making a trade with the Bulls to bring Jimmy Butler to Boston. He actually thinks it may be the the marquee deal to keep an eye on this week heading into the trade deadline. Pete and Jerry discuss and give their thoughts on if they would want Butler. Pete thinks it will happen, Jerry thinks Ainge will stay put. The guys get into more Celtics, present and future and if they can battle with the best of the NBA.
Anna Horford, sister of Boston Celtics Al Horford, makes her Boston radio debut. She talks about Twitter and reacting to mean tweets about her brother. She also gives us her thoughts on the city of Boston and racism.
Bradford checks in from spring training to give us all the media dirt he can dig up...oh, and talk some baseball too.
Pete, Bradford, and Tomase are talking all about the Boston Red Sox, who opened spring training on Monday with pitchers and catchers reporting. They talk about what the Red Sox approach at the plate will be to replace the loss of David Ortiz bat, the impact of some players participating in the WBC, and of course the pitching rotation.
Guys talk the Bruins season so far and the All-Star Break
Guys discuss if or when the Bruins will fire Coach Julian
Ken, Rear and Ty get into a very solid week for the B's beating St Louis and the Flyers and losing a hard-fought game against the Predators. Is this team turning things around? Krug and Marchand are kicking things up a notch. The guys also talk about Claude and Sweeney's job security before getting into some big hits around the league this week.
Hour 4. Trenni, Kirk, and Gerry react to John Provost's interview.
John Provost defends the decision to discontinue High Five Fridays.
Hour 3. Kirk and Gerry ask Trenni why she didn't report Swihart's problems.
Lou didn't want to talk about it on the air, but Mut pried it out of him: Lou is pissed at Trenni for the way she handled the much-anticipated John Farrell interview.
Lou left the show for a spell to record an interview with John Farrell. When he returned, he let Mut, Christian and the listeners know that it was not a loving affair.
Celtics fans have been waiting for fireworks from Danny Ainge since his comments in April of 2014. As the trade deadline nears, Mut and Christian wonder how pissed off Celtics fans will be if nothing happens on Causeway.
Dale Arnold, Michael Holley and Rich Keefe continue to discuss what the Celtics need to add in the off-season, but tucked in the middle is yet another Holley vs Keefe blowout regarding DeMarcus Cousins and his trade.
Dale, Holley and Keefe discuss the Bruins and their great run under new coach Bruce Cassidy, but that the good play doesn't mean they shouldn't add something to the team at the deadline.
Dale, Michael and Rich discuss the Jets/Revis tampering case as new details continue to become available.
Kirk sits down with the legend Glenn Ordway to talk about when Glenn got fired here at WEEI, his start with the station, the controversial decisions he made when he was the Program Director, and he relationship with Eddie Andelman.
Kirk chats with David Duchovny about his current music tour, which takes him to the Wilbur on February 22nd, how David got his start in television, from his first stint on Red Shoe Diaries, becoming a superstar on the X-Files, and his hilarious appearances on the Larry Sanders Show. This is a fascinating discussion about show business and controlling your own career.
Kirk Minihane sits down with Michael Holley for the first time on the podcast. Kirk and Michael have hosted shows together in the past but have never had a candid conversation about WEEI. Kirk and Michael talk about Holley's career in radio, his best selling books, and what his assessment of the current WEEI is. There are a lot of interesting behind the scene nuggets for anybody who has listened to WEEI over the years. This episode is brought to you by hellofresh.com. For Enough About Me listeners go to hellofresh.com and use the promo code kirk35 for $35 off your first week of deliveries.
Ken Laird is in Boston, Chris Curtis in Ft. Myers and the guys find a way to produce a Tuesday post-show recap of K&C on location at Red Sox camp
The reigning American Cy Young Award winner (Rick Porcello) and Red Sox set-up man (Joe Kelly) share a meal, some drinks, stories and conversation with Rob Bradford at Twin Peaks Restaurant in Fort Myers.
Hour 1. Kirk and Gerry discuss the trade rumors surrounding the Celtics. Northampton ends High Five Fridays.More from this show
Hour 3. Gerry went for a jog and dipped his clothes in the pool. Trenni didn't want to report on Swihart's throwing problems.More from this show
Hour 4. Gerry went for a walk and discovered a nude beach.More from this show
Hour 3. Kirk and Gerry ask Trenni why she didn't report Swihart's problems.More from this show